Big 10 Brings Prestige Back to College Football

Big 10 Brings Prestige Back to College Football
Even though the college football season has been going on since early September, the college season really felt complete with the opening of Big 10 play this past weekend.
 
The Big 10 became the fourth of the five Power Five conferences to open play. The Pac-12 will be the fifth when it begins the first week of November.
 
Even though there were exciting games with the Big 12, Southeast Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 10 brings something special to college football
 
That’s not to say the Big 10 is the best conference in college football. In fact, there is no question the best football is played in the SEC. 
 
Since 2006 when Florida of the SEC won the National title, the SEC has won 10 of the last 14 national championships including LSU last season.
 
That is pure dominance, but even when the SEC began play this year on the weekend of Sept. 26, there still seemed to be something missing in college football.
 
The Big 10 has had only one champion in the last 14 years, Ohio State in 2014, yet the Big 10 has always had some of the best tradition in college football.
 
Ohio State and Michigan has been one of the best rivalries. One thing that has happened in recent years is that Ohio State has been so dominant in the Big 10 that it has obscured many of the other teams. (Even though it is called the Big 10, there are 14 teams in the conference).
 
Just look at last week’s college football action. Rutgers, with Greg Schiano beginning his second stint with the school, upset Michigan State, 38-27. 
 
Schiano presided over a highly successful tenure during his first time at Rutgers. He took over a struggling program, had four straight sub .500 seasons and then had winning seasons in six of the next seven years, earning six bowl berths in that time.
 
On a local note, Vineland graduate Isaih Pacheco scored on two touchdown runs for Rutgers. 
 
Rutgers had lost 21 straight Big 10 games before the win at Michigan State. But that game and every other one took a backseat to Indiana’s 36-35 overtime win over visiting Penn State.
 
As the score suggests, it was a wild game that didn’t lack big plays. Indiana won when Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix was successful on a two-point conversion run that was so close it took several minutes of replay video review to confirm the ruling. Penix’s right hand barely touched the pylon, a play that will go down as one of the classics.
 
Of course, the fact that Indiana went for two points instead of kicking the extra point just added to the suspense and excitement of the game.
 
Now Indiana visits Rutgers Saturday at 3:30 in a game offering two of the big surprising winners not only in the Big 10 but nationally. 
 
Now Penn State, which was ranked No. 8 last week, has the difficult task of hosting Ohio State on Saturday.
 
Ohio State has won the last three Big 10 titles and before that, Penn State did. 

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These two have teamed up with some classic clashes and Saturday figures to be another great game.  The real winner is the college football fan. The sport seems so much more complete with the Big 10 back in action.


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Author: Marc Narducci

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